Ed Note: Noah Boeken is one of the top young professional players in the game today. Hailing from Amsterdam, Noah has an EPT title under his belt, and is looking for more. Noah is going to try to give us his first person perspective as he plays most of the events in the 2006 WSOP. Here is his first entry.
We are back! Correction: I am back. The last trip I took to Vegas was basically one huge party, my friends came along and we spent most nights livin' it up in the clubs! A major european poker magazine even dedicated two pages to our super-fun-party-infested-sushi-eating-two-month trip, really the only good way to describe it. So after spending all that time and money on the good things that life has to offer, and playing poker in between, I have decided to reserve the next five weeks to play some serious poker, some more poker, and probably even more poker. Let's see if watching what I eat, getting a good night's rest and analyzing my every play with my good friends will make a difference. I will try to give you all some insight regarding how it feels to be here during the WSOP, what it is like to play in the many tournaments, and I'll even tell you about some of the hands I encounter. I am ready to battle for bracelets, are you ready to read about it? I sure hope so.
I arrived in Vegas last sunday afternoon. I flew from London using Virgin Air. The moment we landed I got my cellphone out and called my friend Justin so he could put his phone next to the TV speaker so I could listen to the second half of the World Cup Soccer match between The Netherlands and Portugal. Our national team could not score, so Portugal won the match. I am sure my cell phone provider is also very happy....<img border="0" src="/i/xsmiles/smile7.gif" alt="sad" />
David Williams picked me up from the airport. He invited me to stay at his house for the five weeks I am here. Off course I gladly accepted his invitation Evelyn Ng, and Jean Gluck are also here, and I tell you, Jean is a GREAT cook, so I will have to watch my diet...No worries though, she is also a health freak, so I am sure that will reflect in the food she cooks for us.
I used Sunday and Monday as recovery days, I slept a lot and tried to adjust to the US time zone. I wanted to make sure I was in great shape for the $1500 buy-in tournament on Tuesday.
[B]Day 1- Event 2, $1500 buy-in[/B]
The World Series started yesterday. The first event was the Casino Employees event, this event is only for casino staff members and dealers, it is the traditional kick-off event. So today us non-casino-employees were allowed to give it a shot.
When I arrived at The Rio, where the WSOP is being held, I saw tremendous amounts of players of all types, sizes and nationalities, it kind of reminded me of a poker zoo. My first impression was that everything seemed to be one or a couple of sizes bigger than last year, hopefully the arrangements are done better than last year, but I'll get into that later this week.
There were about 2300 seats, and more than 400 players with the alternate status. Alternate means that when a player busts, an alternate (it's all in the word) player takes that busted guys seat. The alternate starts with a full stack. This way more players can enter, and the prizepool grows significantly. The players at the first table I played at were all strangers to me, which kinda makes sense when you enter a tournament with over 2300 players. In the first three hours nothing really exciting happened, and I did not make any noteworthy moves or plays. The plasma screens set up around the 218 poker tables showing the World Cup match between France and Spain, basically had my almost undevided attention. My attention was partially devided as I mentioned, that was because I was watching Prison Break on my Ipod, a great series made for TV, it just came out in Holland, and until now I did not really find the time to watch it at home. My friends were right, once you start watching it, you cannot stop. So when my Ipod battery died, and the World Cup match was almost over, I was basically forced to really start playing.
So, back to poker. I progressed to the next table with about 1800 in chips. Blind levels were at 100/200, and about half the field of players was still left. The average stack size was around 3000 chips, so I had some work cut out for me. I started working...And that worked out for me.<img border="0" src="/i/xsmiles/smile1.gif" alt="Smile" /> First I was able to double up holding A4 against K3 after I went all-in for a couple of hundred more on a button raise from my opponent. The best hand prevailed! After that I was dealt my first good hand; JJ. A small Asian player went all-in holding A4, hoping for an Ace on the flop. Too bad, he did not make it. I made it to 5000 chips. Pretty fast huh? Odds can change as fast as you can turn over a single card, that is what poker is all about.
Again the table was broken up, and I went on to sit at one with Humberto Brenes, who had a serious stack in front of him. In the second hand the player in first position raised to 500, and the guy in second position called the raise. I could tell that the raiser had a decent hand, so I decided to call while holding a pair of tens. Humberto also called, and all I was hoping for was another 10 on the board. The raiser from the early position immediately went all-in for 1500. Guess what...I kinda liked the rainbow flop with K-T-8. Now all I had to do was get Humberto in that pot. I called the 1500, hoping mr Brenes was holding a king or better. He started thinking, and raised to 4000. RING DING DING, there ya go! I went in for about 1200 more, he virtually immediately called me, but his pale face turned even paler when he saw my pair. He showed his 88...After hitting two blanks on the turn and river, the player who went all-in left the table, but not after complaning to himself under his breath while neatly putting the chair back in the position he found it in. What a nice guy.....What was even nicer, was the fact that I had built my stack up to about 15000. So far so good so to speak, still 1100 players to eliminate....
So far so good was indeed the right thing to think and say. In the two hours that followed I saw many flops, but I could not really connect, and every time I tried something I was raised. Before I knew it I had lost about half my stack. In the next (fatal) hand I was on the button, and Young Phan, who was sitting next to me, made 1200 in the cutoff. I looked at my cards, held a pair of tens, and decided to raise Young to 4000. I did this because I know that he has a habit of raising when he is playing in this position, and I didn't really want to see a flop with overcards, only to have to give up if he would bet. I wanted to win the pot without having to see the flop since the blind levels were at 200/400, and there was about 500 worth of ante in the pot. When is was Phan's turn, he spent a few moments thinking, and he decided to go all-in. I bet my last 3500, hoping for a low pair after he said "u probably have me beat." Unfortunately he was holding JJ. No help on the board, so I left the first tournament when there were still about 400 players left.
David, who was eliminated in the first level, picked me up at the Rio, and we spoke about the hands we played, encountered, and lost, so we could analyze where we went wrong. Overall, I was pretty pleased reagrding the way I played, I did not get many good hands, and I still got pretty far. I do think though, that I have to focus less on stealing pots, and more on hitting and getting paid by the weak calling stations. Believe me, there were PLENTY of those sitting around.
While charging my Ipod, I leave you for today. I don't know what I am looking forward to more, Pocket Aces or Prison break. What the heck, let's do both....<img border="0" src="/i/xsmiles/smile6.gif" alt="Cha cha" />
Ed Note: Noah loves playing online poker at Poker Stars just ask him.